Through the Maine Clean Elections system, Maine taxpayers spent over $3 million in a variety of categories on political campaigns in the 2016 election cycle.
This is the first of a three part series exploring the use of taxpayer funding through the Maine Clean Elections System in the 2016 election cycle.
A Maine Examiner analysis of Maine Clean Elections spending by taxpayer funded candidates for the Maine Legislature shows spending habits by candidates lean heavily toward two types of expenditures Maine voters regularly express disdain for – political mailings and lawn signs.
Of the more than $3.2 million spent by taxpayer funded candidates for the Maine Legislature, more than 68% of the funds were spent in categories for political mailings and printing of lawn signs, t-shirts and literature.
Candidates for the Maine House spent $414,000 on “Mail House” services; $96,000 on postage and post office box fees and $544,000 on “Printing and graphics flyers, signs, palmcards, t-shirts, etc.”
Candidates for the Maine Senate spent $654,000 on “Mail House” services; $153,000 on “postage and post office box fees” and just under $1 million on “Printing and graphics flyers, signs, palmcards, t-shirts, etc.”
Total spending in these three categories reached a staggering $2.2 million in the 2016 campaign, dwarfing other categories of spending, such as website design and hosting ($93k), print media advertising ($219K), radio ads ($157k) and television ads ($177k).
Taxpayer funding of political campaigns is often supported by more liberal voters because they feel it is better for taxpayers to fund campaigns than private donors, while more conservative voters often deride the program as ‘welfare for politicians’, saying they should raise their own campaign funds and that the funds spent on campaigns should go to other, more worthy programs.
ALL TAXPAYER FUNDED MCEA MAINE SENATE CANDIDATE EXPENDITURE CATEGORIES